FTSE 100 well supported by HBOS and strong mining sector

FTSE 100 well supported by HBOS and strong mining sector

The leading shares index rose after a strong performance from mining stocks and HBOS gaining after a positive trading update.

At the close of trade on Thursday, the FTSE 100 index was up 27.4 points at 6,129.9, having been 36.2 points higher at 6,228.7.

Volume was above average, with 2.7 billion shares changing hands in 430,816 deals.

Mining stocks rallied as copper prices recovered from Wednesday’s sharp falls.

Xstrata topped the gainers board, jumping 136 pence — or 5.72 percent — to 2,513, also supported by bullish comment from Morgan Stanley.

“We believe consensus estimates need to be upgraded by at least 25 percent,” the broker told clients, repeating its ‘overweight’ recommendation and raising its target to 3,600 pence from 3,400.

Antofagasta climbed to second spot on the leaderboard, up 14.25 pence — or 2.77 percent — to 5290.50.

Elsewhere in the sector, Rio Tinto added 67 pence to 2,850, BHP Billiton added 17 pence to 950 and Anglo American gained 52 pence to 2,517 and Kazakhmys took on 10 pence to 1,165.

Financial stocks were also in demand, with HBOS adding 17 pence to close at 1,101 after an upbeat trading statement.

HBOS said it expects underlying earnings-per-share for the year to exceed the 96.8 pence currently forecast by analysts.

The nation’s fourth-largest bank also expects to beat the current consensus forecast for underlying pretax profit of 5.35 billion pounds, up from 4.84 billion in 2005.

In reaction, Dresdner Kleinwort repeated its ‘buy’ recommendation.

Cairn Energy was the biggest casualty after falling by 94 pence to 1,946, a fall of 4.61 percent.

The energy group saw a slump in its share price after analysts dismissed rumours linking the group with a Dubai consortium.

Smith & Nephew finished second on the fallers board, down 11.50 pence — or 2.33 percent — to close at 482.50.

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